Blue Moon New Orleans Greys.

On October 13th, 1835, Adolphus Sterne, a New Orleans businessman that backed the Texian cause, financed the formation of two companies of volunteers for service in Texas. The first company was of 54 men commanded by Thomas H. Breece, while the second company was of 68 men under Robert C. Morris. Elements of the Greys would fight at the Siege of Bexar, the Alamo, Coleto Creek, and San Jacinto. Around twenty-four New Orleans Greys would fall at the Alamo. Most were in a company initially commanded by Captain John  J. Baugh, until Baugh was made the garrison adjutant when the company was given to recently promoted Captain William Blazeby. 

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The officers sword does not appear to have molded properly, but conveniently the USN in the 1830’s had ‘boarding swords’ that were shorter than standard officer’s swords and maybe this chap has obtained one.

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I gave some figures trousers that were other than gray to show the result of months of hard campaigning.

The Blue Moon set consists of 15 figures: 1 officer, 1 bugler, 1 NCO, and 12 soldiers. Two sets will be enough to use for the Greys left at the Alamo. I painted the figures following the plate in Marshall’s “Uniforms of the Alamo and the Texas Revolution”. My only change was to give the figures black collars and shoulder straps instead of the laced versions in the plate.ImageImageImageImageImage

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Blue Moon Texian Command

To complete my Alamo garrison I need a few command figures, so today I’ll have a look at Blue Moon Manufacturing set 15TRT-100 Texian Command. This set consists of 14 figures: Ten officers, 2 buglers, and 2 drummers. Except for the buglers, all the figures are unique sculpts. Two officers have flintlock pistols, one officer has a Kentucky rifle, and seven have muskets. The two drummers are unarmed while the buglers have muskets. For the most part all of the figures have the usual mix of typical 1830’s civilian attire: roundabouts, frock coats, drop-front trousers, slouch hats, and hunting caps. All these are appropriate since the bulk of volunteers were not uniformed. 

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Mexican Infantry Marching

These are figures from Blue Moon Manufacturing set 15TRT-201 Mexican Infantry Marching. These figures are dressed in the same fashion as the previous sets reviewed on this blog. I’ve painted them as a Permanente battalion and they will  be the Aldama Battalion as part of the column of General Cos. The set comes with 30 figures in 5 poses. 

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Blue Moon Tennessee Volunteers

This morning I have another set of Blue Moon Texian figures to review; pack 15TRT-109 ;Tennesseans’, As with most Blue Moon 15/18MM packs there are 30 figures in the set, and in this case, all poses are unique. All the figures are dressed in hunting frocks and have varying headgear ( slouch hats, top hats, coonskin caps, etc.) and varying equipment. In the case of armament, nearly all carry the popular Kentucky/Pennsylvania rifle, though one man wields only a flintlock pistol and Bowie knife. As usual with Blue Moon, this is a most attractive set of figures in such a small size. Not only can these men make up your companies of Tennessee volunteers, they can pretty much represent any volunteers that happened to wear the hunting frock and carry the long rifle, which would likely have been a large proportion of men coming in from the southern United States. Another nice thing about the Tennesseans, is that they can represent American frontiersmen from the late 18th through the mid 19th centuries. Anyone wanting to game trappers and mountain men have 30 figures from which to choose their characters. 

Prior to painting a did a little research on the hunting frocks to help me select colors. I learned that that frocks were made from various materials including deerskin, linen, and ‘linsey-woolsey’ (a fabric made from a linen or cotton warp and a woolen weft). Frocks of these materials were often left naturally colored, but could also be dyed homespun-fashion with various vegetable dyes. These dyes are as follows:

                                White walnut bark = light brown

                                Black walnut hulls = dark brown to almost black

                               Sumac bark = dark blue

                               Black sumac bark = purple

                              Black oak balls and Indian paint root = red

It also should be noted that linen was fairly simple to bleach using animal urine  so white frocks are also possible.

Another possibility, that I myself have not tried yet, is to paint colorful patterns on a few men to represent Indian bead-work. 

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Mexican Infantry Uniforms 1836

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This is the well-known painting by Claude Linati, featuring the controversial ’roundel’ on top of the shako. Otherwise, the uniform conforms to the September 20, 1821 regulations. These specified a blue single-breasted coat with red facings and piping. White linen trousers for summer and grey wool trousers for winter. Belts are white and support a black cartridge box and bayonet scabbard. The scabbard has a brass chape. This soldier has blue shoulder wings piped red, but these were replaced by epaulettes by 1836

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Along with the blue woolen coat, Mexico also authorized a white linen uniform for summer dress and tropical wear. Here the shako is worn with a white linen cover. It is fairly certain that one or more of the Active Militia battalions sent to Texas from the south were dressed in the tropical uniform, and suffered accordingly during the march north. Again this uniform from a decade earlier has the obsolete shoulder wings.

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An illustration of Mexican infantry uniforms from the time of the Texas War for Independence by Bill Younghusband from Osprey’s volume “Santa Anna’s Mexican Army.” Here the Fusilier NCO wears the 1831 double-breasted coat with red lapels and white piping. The shako features the tri-color plume with yellow lace and cords. The chin-scales and plate are brass. Shako decoration seemed to vary somewhat. Cords were often left with the baggage, and lace could appear at the crown or base, the crown only, or not at all. The tricolor plume might be replaced by a red plume or pompom, though this was mainly associated with grenadiers, but not always. Here the trousers are white linen, but medium blue or grey could also be worn. The grenadier has the white linen uniform with red facings. The lace on his cuffs signifies his membership in the grenadier company. There is some evidence that black belts might be worn with the white uniform, but as the 1826 illustration shows white belts, it does not seem to be universal.

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Another interpretation of the white linen uniform. Here the shako only has the cockade showing above the linen cover. Sandals are worn in place of brogans. The Mexican Army had a shortage of shoes, and many men wore out their shoes on the forced march to Bexar. Sandals were worn with trousers rolled to prevent the trouser bottoms from becoming tattered.

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An illustration of typical Mexican infantry by Paul Hannon from Osprey’s “The Alamo and the War of Texan Independence.” The uniforms here give a good indication of how the appearance of the shako could vary between units. On these four men the shako lace is indicated as a metallic color, but other sources indicate yellow. One minor error on figures 1 and 3 is that the 1833 coat is shown with white piping when it should be red. Numbers 2 and 3 wear the medium blue trousers that usually had a red trouser seam stripe. Grey trousers were an alternative to the white or blue versions.

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A simplified illustration of the coats and hats of the various types of the Mexican infantry. On the left is an 1832 fusilier coat and shako. The 1832 coat could be worn by any of the infantry types. Second left is a cazadore’s 1833 coat with green facings. The shako has a green pompom and cords with yellow lace, but the lace may also be green. Belts here are shown white, but riflemen could also wear black belts. White belts may indicate that the unit was armed with muskets as opposed to the Baker rifle. Third from left is a grenadier’s 1833 coat and shako. The coat is missing the cuff lace while the shako has a red pompom and cords. There is some evidence that the grenadier’s shako may also occasionally have had red lace in place of yellow. Second from right is a speculative Zapador’s coat. The zapadores’ uniform in 1836 is unknown, but in 1840 with black facings piped red. Here the coat has a black collar and cuffs and show crossed ax shoulder patches. Zapdor trousers may have been dark blue with a red stripe. Lastly, on the far right is the rear of a coat to show the turn-backs and show the blue piped red barracks cap.

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This Gary Zaboly plate of Mexican light company soldiers is a good illustration of how uniforms might vary in practice from the intended regulations. The rifleman on the right foreground, though missing his shoes, is likely the most representative of the regulation uniform. His comrades show variations in coats, trousers, and shakos.